DOHA - Qatar has donated portacabins and mobile homes used for last year's World Cup soccer tournament to earthquake zones in Turkey and Syria where they will accommodate people left homeless, a Qatari official told Reuters on Monday.
A ship carrying the first 350 units left Qatar for Turkey on Sunday, the official said.
The Gulf Arab state has pledged to send 10,000 mobile housing units to the earthquake zones, Qatar's Fund for Development said in a tweet on Sunday.
"In view of the urgent needs in Turkey and Syria, we have taken the decision to ship our cabins and caravans to the region, providing much needed and immediate support to the people of Turkey and Syria," the official said.
The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria from last Monday's 7.8 magnitude quake and aftershocks is near 36,000 and looks set to rise, as the focus of the response switched from rescuing survivors trapped under the rubble to providing shelter, food and psychosocial care.
Qatar's World Cup organisers had always planned to donate the housing units, which were installed on empty stretches of desert surrounding the Qatari capital Doha to house fans visiting for the soccer World Cup.
Fans paid some $200 per night to stay in the housing units, which helped avoid a potential housing shortage during the month-long tournament held in November and December.
(Reporting and writing by Andrew Mills; Editing by Mike Harrison)